GREEN DAY – !UNO!

Green Day - UnoThere are few rock bands, if any, that I have loathed so hard during my many years as a rock fan, as much as Green Day. Since the first time I heard “Basket Case” back in the mid nineties, I couldn’t stand to hear a second from that band. But for some reason, why I really can’t figure out, I decided to give their last album 21st Century Breakdown a go when it came out in 2009. Thank God, I’m not narrow minded because it turned out that I actually liked that album. Well, not liked, more loved, because that album isn’t just good, it’s a god damned masterpiece. It’s still in my iPhone and I just can’t seem to grow tired of it. I realised then that Billy Joe Armstrong is a genius when it comes to writing striking pop songs with melodies others would sacrifice their right nut for. That also meant that I can now listen to their older stuff without puking, even though “Basket Case” still makes me a bit nauseous. I guess that one is a lost case for me.

That also means that for the first time ever I had to look forward to a Green Day release. But two things worried me a bit when I heard the advance talk from the members. First, !UNO! is just the first out of three records (!DOS! and !TRES! will follow, obviously) that will be released in a short while. They are all recorded and ready to go. Yes, it was three years since their last album came out, but three albums at one time spontaneously sounds like a bit of an overkill. How will that effect the quality of the music? There was also talk about the band going back to their earlier punkier days. That was not what I wanted to hear. Now, Green Day really wants to call themselves punk, but the reality is that they are more of a poppy rock band which have leered at commercial punk bands like The Ramones. Punk is more a attitude than actual music and Green Day’s attitude is more of creating hits than a big F**k You to society. I would put them in the melodic rock category any day. Which is where you will find them on this site.

All of this brought my expectations down to a more human level, which I guess was a good thing as the shadow of their last album could have sunk this album in my mind, no matter how good it is. But of course, it’s impossible not to compare. This album is not as good as its predecessor. But that was kind of expected. That does not mean that it’s a bad album by any means. Quite the contrary, it’s a very good album and even though they might have looked back a bit, there is no sign of Dookie here, thank you very much. Opener and first single “Nuclear Family” is great and it doesn’t go back further than “American Idiot” which I guess is ok, “Stay The Night” is magnificent, a total hit, “Carpe Diem” is a very catchy killer and “Fell For You” is a great pop song. There are also some songs that goes outside the box here. “Kill The DJ” is a really good dance / rock track that feels fresh and not forced at all, “Sweet 16” is a pop song with huge 50’s influences and “Oh! Love” is a slow pop song with some Irish influences. A very good move, I must stress, as it takes them a bit further off the punk road. Talking of punk, the only song on this album that doesn’t really holds up is “Let Yourself Go”, a way too punky track that actually takes us back to the old days.

Once again, Green Day has released a very good album. As I wrote, it’s not as good as 21st Century Breakdown. Where that album contained 19 tracks and not one filler, this one doesn’t. There are no actual bad songs on here, but there are a couple of fillers too much and there are times when the Green Day of old shows up which I think is a bad move. On the other hand, I’m not a huge Green Day fan, so what do I know? Maybe this is the path older fans wants them to take. Me, I’m just happy that the band has recorded a great album and it’s gonna be interesting to see how the next releases holds up. Let’s hope they really has written a bunch of killers on those records and that quantity hasn’t beat quality. We will know for sure in a couple of months.

Jon Wilmenius (7/10)

Tracklist:

1. Nuclear Family
2. Stay The Night
3. Carpe Diem
4. Let Yourself Go
5. Kill The DJ
6. Fell For You
7. Loss Of Control
8. Troublemaker
9. Angel Blue
10. Sweet 16
11. Rusty James
12. Oh Love

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